Just Start

It's inevitable. Each semester I reach a point when it feels like I have grading to complete all the time. And when I say it feels like "all the time," I mean All. The. Time. In perpetuity. Unceasing. Continual. Never ending. Forever and ever and ever, amen.

Last night, I actually dreamed that I was providing feedback for students on an assignment. I was terribly disappointed when I woke up because, apparently, grading completed during a dream doesn't actually count for anything. Come on, man! I worked all night long but have nothing to show for it.

I'm tired. Assignments pour in like a deluge. Yesterday's to-do list bled into today. I suspect today's to-do list will bleed until tomorrow. My shoulders are tense, my brow is furrowed, and my resolve is weakening. I want to either (a) take a nap so I can temporarily forget about the grading, or (b) clean all my closets so I can temporarily convince myself I'm being productive, even if it's not productive in the right way.

I've been in this place before. I'm no stranger to a semester's cumulative fatigue. Grading is time consuming and laborious, yet it's an essential part of my job that I take seriously. Still, it's hard right now.

Even so, I do one entirely unglamorous thing that always helps: I start.

I just start.

I don't need to grade all the assignments tonight. I don't need to complete them all tomorrow, either. Right now, I simply need to start and grade one. Then I start again, and I grade one more. Then one more. Like putting one foot ahead of another, eventually I'll cover some distance.

I'll likely succumb at some point over these next few days and take that nap. It'll be a healthy coping mechanism. I've already organized my pantry. (That was yesterday's diversion, and yes, if you're wondering, it was wildly satisfying up until the point when I conceded to myself that having my spices perfectly lined up wasn't actually my most pressing task.)

Even so, regardless of how many diversions might crop up, I keep reminding myself to start. 

Just start.

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